2020 Social Media Trends: How To Adapt and Succeed

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2020 is upon us, and the social media landscape looks quite a bit different than it did 10 years ago. As a social media agency, the collective hours we spend across the platforms, for both professional and personal use, can get a little absurd. The upside? Bearing witness to much of social media’s transformation over this past decade. Based on firsthand accounts, along with some due diligence into what the platforms themselves are saying, here are a few predictions for 2020 social media trends to come, along with how to navigate these ever changing platforms.

What Will Facebook Do in 2020?

While Facebook looks to recover its image publically, it has been making significant strides behind the scenes.

Facebook & Currency

Facebook rolled out both a cryptocurrency (Libra) and a money transfer system (Facebook Pay). In 2020, the company will continue to push both these platforms hard. Why? As a global giant, seamless international transactions will allow the tech company more flexibility across borders. It also fosters dependencies in markets where transaction fees and clearance times hinder quick reactions to the market. A cohesive ecosystem, where money stays entirely within Facebook’s walls, will strengthen on-platform purchasing behaviors. 

Changes to Facebook in 2020

We expect Facebook to double down on these efforts, pushing out as many third-party vendors as they can. While this trend may not have an immediate takeaway for restaurant and CPG brands, it’s worth keeping an eye on, especially if you rely on any third-party programs to conduct sales through Facebook and Instagram. You can expect the firm to extend its control and begin removing competitors from the platform wherever possible. 

Facebook Watch

2020 will also probably see a new push for Facebook Watch. The video streaming service hasn’t had groundbreaking numbers, but the usage is strong enough for the company to keep it around. The additional attention comes as Facebook rolls out specific news tabs to the Watch platform. As Zuckerberg and company look to take a second crack at being part of the mainstream news. If successful, there may be advertising opportunities for brands that know their customers’ interests well. 

How Instagram Will Retain Its Success

Instagram held its title as the trendiest platform on the market today, a title it seems it will hold for the foreseeable future. In 2020, the platform will look to expand its reach beyond its primary platform by focusing in on the already active but underserved IGTV feature. An embarrassingly slow start had many content creators and industry pundits predicting a swift death, but in early 2019, views shot up. What changed? IGTV previews started appearing within the regular feed on Instagram. Brands who committed to IGTV content were rewarded; their content appeared in their followers’ feeds and the Discover section. Suddenly, it was easy for users to watch IGTV content.

It seems as though IGTV isn’t going away, and that the platform will look to reward brands willing to create content for it. As a CPG or restaurant brand, if you have messages that are worthy of long-form or content that entertains, we recommend considering IGTV, especially while it’s undervalued. CPG brands can create ultra-simplistic cooking shows or use recipe videos they’ve already spent the effort creating. In 2020, we expect consumers to demand more transparency than ever before. For restaurant brands, this expectation allows you to give viewers a behind the scenes and show clean, healthy, or interesting processes in their kitchens. And as a CPG brand, it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase interesting or unique attributes about your supply chain or the deeper story of how your product is made.

Instagram vs. Influencer Agencies

Another curious story to keep an eye on in 2020: Will Instagram potentially push to topple influencer-specific agencies? A few months back, Instagram announced that it would remove users’ ability to see how many likes an account/person’s post receives (a topic we covered extensively here). At the time of the announcement, Instagram treated the move as beneficial for mental health. While we have no reason to doubt that, another motive may be to extend control over influencer marketing. In short, if Instagram has access to the best metrics for measuring influencer success, it turns them into an authority on sourcing influencers. It may be the first of many steps to play a more direct role in their marketplace. Instagram has not announced plans to do so, but speculation aside, if you’re looking to use influencers in 2020, be sure you have the appropriate tools to measure success beyond Likes. 

Pinterest: Social Media or eCommerce King

Pinterest is an entirely different beast than to its social media counterparts, in that it behaves more like a search engine than a social channel. Pins have a much longer shelf life versus posts on other channels, with quality pins generating clicks years after first going live.

While it never went away, Pinterest enjoyed a resurgence in 2019, largely thanks to the performance of its new feature, Lens. Lens is a visual search tool that helps user find similar products, or buy the products directly, simply by snapping a photo of an item. In other words, Pinterest turned photo cameras into search bars, making the site a goldmine for visually-driven brands, from food to the fashion industry. 

Pinterest is engineered for eCommerce. Its slow-burn nature makes for a great option for a long-term return on investment. With the introduction of Lens, the platform has a promising future in the social commerce space. Using Lens takes place more on the consumer’s side, but its invention is another reason for CPG brands to consider a serious investment in Pinterest. People are spending an enormous amount of time seeking out food-related topics, so both restaurants and CPG brands serve to benefit from showing up in users’ Pinterest searches.

Big Changes for Twitter in 2020

Twitter is a platform in transition. The largest change to Twitter 2019 was their transition to their mDAU metric (monetizable daily active users) for reporting stats.

What does that mouthful mean? That Twitter will provide more relevant data for marketers. Since its conception, the brand struggled to demonstrate marketing value with limited data. This new metric will look to capitalize on people who use the platform frequently (instead of talking about how many total users there are), as well as focusing on real-time conversations. If your brand has given up on the idea of Twitter advertising, this new metric may make a quick tire-kicking worthwhile. 

2020 twitter trends

Streaming Video on Twitter

Twitter’s most significant push for the new decade will focus around video content. Video performance is appropriately emphasized on Facebook and Instagram. As it turns out, it’s equally as important on Twitter. With that in mind, Twitter is gambling big on their live-stream broadcasts, hence their deal for the 2020 Olympics. Overall, the company is changing how it presents itself as a platform and as a business model. This year will be a defining moment for how their bets pay off. Expect to see an even heavier emphasis on the use of live-stream broadcasting. 

Know Your Audience Before You Tweet

Historically, people have used Twitter as a place for PR, announcements, and customer service. With the revelation that Twitter is a great place for video, brands can increase engagement and cut through the clutter by posting more video content.

Understanding the platform is key. Your fans may have entirely different interests on the platform, so content that does well on Facebook or Instagram isn’t guaranteed to perform well on Twitter. Studying the platform and your audience on Twitter is essential to success. For brands dedicated in this pursuit, surprising success could be right within reach. 

A parting thought – Twitter is the epicenter of pop culture and social discussion. So, if you’re a mission-driven CPG or restaurant brand, keeping an eye on topics and entering appropriate conversations can bring you wild success in a short amount of time (sometimes a single tweet). Even if you’re not aspiring to be the next Tom’s, Twitter still presents brands with a unique opportunity to get in on the conversation and show off their personality by engaging with Twitter’s diverse community. 

What’s Next for Augmented Reality?

When studying 2020 social media trends, AR probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Augmented reality has been the promising, yet problematic child of the tech world for the past few years, with occasional success stories sprinkled in among a lot of disappointments. In 2020, we’ll see tech companies like Apple, Snapchat, and Facebook renew their attempts at monetizing this technology, whether in the form of glasses, goggles, or in-app. 

augmented reality in 2020

AR virtual stores are a possible application of this tech that could create a much more engaging experience for consumers. While online shopping via social media isn’t new, virtual stores give consumers the ability to experience and purchase products right from their device. Could AR online ordering be around the corner? For the boldest brands with the deepest pockets, quite possibly. 

Stay Up to Date on Social Media Trends

There were plenty of 2020 social media trends we didn’t cover, and new, unforeseen ones that will likely emerge in the ongoing battle for users’ time share. For a look at other topics not included in this list, as well as the latest data-drive insights on social media marketing, you can get our Monthly Trend Reports delivered straight to your inbox:

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